Published Online: October 15, 1997


State Journal

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Who wants to know?

An anonymous North Carolina legislator is making work for top administrators in one of the state's school districts.

Last month, the legislature's fiscal-research office, acting on behalf of the unnamed lawmaker, requested public records on administrative spending over the past five years in the Moore County schools. The move has fueled speculation about whom the request came from and why.

District officials suspect political maneuvering aimed at affecting the outcome of two referendums set to go before county voters in November: a $36.5 million school and community college bond issue and a proposal to change from an appointed to elected school board.

Sandhills Community College was asked to provide similar information.

The request has placed an undue burden on top district administrators, who were asked to handle the request themselves without the assistance of staff members, said Richard Schwartz, the lawyer for the Moore County school board. The 10,400-student district does not keep the records in the form in which they were requested. "What was being asked for here was not just existing public records, but to compile new records from existing data," Mr. Schwartz said.

James D. Johnson, a senior fiscal analyst with the legislature's research division, said the request was not unusual. Such requests are often kept confidential, he said.

Big payoff

What does it take to make high school seniors get serious about a test? Ohio lawmakers think that $500 ought to do the trick.

Gov. George V. Voinovich, a Republican, signed a bill last month that calls for giving seniors who pass all sections of the state's 12th grade proficiency test and go to college in Ohio a gift of at least $500.

The state board of regents must draft a plan for administering the reward, which will likely be handed out beginning with the Class of 1999.

The program could cost between $15 million and $20 million a year, said Paul Marshall, the director of government relations for the state education department. About 38,000 seniors pass the test each year.

The proficiency exam is not used in college admissions, Mr. Marshall said. But, he added, it helps the state gauge whether student learning is aligned with the state's academic standards.


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